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Silicosis

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Silicosis is an occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust. Silica is a common mineral and can be found in most rock beds. The dust is created during mining, quarrying, tunneling, and working with many metal ores. Silica is a main part of sand, so glass workers and sand-blasters are also exposed to silica.


Contents

Types of Silicosis

Simple chronic silicosis Exposure: 20+ years to low amounts of silica dust. Symptoms:Swellings caused by the silica dust form in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. Trouble breathing.

Accelerated silicosis Exposure: 5 - 15 years to larger amounts of silica dust. Symptoms: Swelling in the lungs and symptoms occur faster than in simple silicosis.

Acute silicosis Exposure: Short term to very large amounts of silica dust. The lungs become very inflamed and can fill with fluid, causing severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels.


Progression

People with simple or accelerated silicosis can develop progressive massive fibrosis. In addition, people with silicosis are at a high risk for developing tuberculosis.


Assistive Technology

  • Bronchodilators taken with an inhaler to facilitate breathing.


References

  • "Silicosis." MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. U.S. National Library of Medicine. January 22, 2008. Accessed on February 24, 2008.